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Overnight Colorado Horse Trips

Fall is one of the most beautiful times to ride in Colorado with the changing leaves, cool weather and minimal tourism traffic.  In the last couple of years, we have explored a few Colorado places to camp with our horses and trail ride.  Here are some of the places offered in our beautiful state that provide overnight facilities for people and horses.  For more information, details and additional ideas see Margi Evans’ book:  Riding Colorado III:  Day and Overnight Trips with your horse.

Make reservations as far ahead as you can, but often in the late fall there are openings for spontaneous trips.  Make sure you have all of the health papers you need ready specific to the facility.  You may need a current negative Coggins test, possibly a vaccination record and/or a health certificate within the last 30 days.  If travelling over 75 miles from home, you will need a brand inspection.   Some places require certified weed-free hay.

Beaver Meadows Resort, Red Feather Lakes, CO, beavermeadow.com, 970-881-2450

Beautiful common area with beaver ponds, general store and restaurant.  A great place for non-horse folks too!  Many, many well marked trails for different loop options every day.  Several small stream crossings.  Horses:  Pens at the horse stable area or large pens at campsites with nearby water.  People:  Many options including cabins, condos, hotel rooms and horse camp sites.  There are no hook ups at the horse camping area, but it is along a beautiful stream in a private setting.

Mill Creek Ranch (formally known as Old Cow Town Colorado), Saguache, CO, millcreekcolorado.com, 719-655-2224

No expense was spared designing and building this recently built cow town.  There is a restaurant, saloon, general store, museum, social club and more.  Bring more that your horse friends and family, there is something here for everyone.  Surrounded by National Forest, there are many trail riding options to explore like Hoaglund Mountain and the Hodding Creek Area.  Horses:  Very nice stall barn to outdoor pens.  People: Many options of cabins, the Social Club or a nice RV area near the barn and pens with hookups.

Homestead Meadows from Hermit Park Campground, Estes Park, CO, 800-397-7795

Ride to Homestead Meadows from Campground.  The trail tours through a registered National Historic District.  The area was first settled in the 1800’s and the last resident in 1952.  Each homestead is labeled telling about each homesteader family.  Two days recommended to really explore.  Horses:  One or two pens per site, but keep in mind they are too small to really put two horses in one.  Nice pens with good ground and shade.  People:  Tent camping or living quarters trailers, but no hook ups. Restrooms available and water down near pavilion or entry.  Bring water for you and your horse.

Indian Creek Campground, Sedalia, CO, fs.usda.gov/activity/psicc/recreation/horseriding-camping, 877-444-6777

Several options for trailing riding in the area including the Indian Creek Equestrian Trail, a segment of the Colorado Trail, and the Ringtail Trail.  Horses:  Hitching posts, water spigots and pens at sites, some shaded.  People:  Nice campground with restrooms in the loop, picnic tables, fire pits and tent sites.  There are a couple sites that would work well for living quarters trailers, but there are no hook ups.

M Lazy C Ranch, Lake George, CO, mlazyc.com, 719-148-3398

Meals available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Some nights there is a chuckwagon dinner with hay rides, reservations required.  Surrounded by National Forest, there are many trails to explore.  On the 4WD roads you may encounter ATV’s that were always very respectful of the horses.  There are plenty of single track trails to explore with no ATV’s.  Beautiful open areas and distant mountain views.  You can camp here and trailer to Dome Rock as well.  Horses:  Two pens at each campsite and the ability to add more.  Some of the pens have roofs. Water at each site.  People:  There are some cabins and rooms available near the main area with pen options for horses as well as a round pen and outdoor arena.  Great camping area with different configurations.  Water, electric, fire pits and picnic tables at sites.  Also, a round pen and several trail obstacles in camping area.

Mill Creek Ranch (formally known as Old Cow Town Colorado), Saguache, CO, millcreekcolorado.com, 719-655-2224

No expense was spared designing and building this recently built cow town.  There is a restaurant, saloon, general store, museum, social club and more.  Bring more than your horse friends and family, there is something here for everyone.  Surrounded by National Forest, there are many trail riding options to explore like Hoaglund Mountain and the Hodding Creek Area.  Horses:  Very nice stall barn to outdoor pens.  People: Many options of cabins, the Social Club or a nice RV area near the barn and pens with hookups.

Mueller State Park, Teller County, CO, cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Mueller/Pages/Activities.aspx, 800-678-2267

Extensive trails for riding, plus you can connect to the Dome Rock area with additional trails.  Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in this area as well.  There are a few areas where horses are not allowed which are marked.  Horses:  Stalls/pens available at the stable area.  There are only two horse camping spots with pens that are a little ways from the main area.  No hookups here.  People:  Lodging available at the main area or there are the two horse camping sites.

Oleo Ranch, Lake City, CO, oleoranch.com, 281-728-0267

10,500 feet elevation.  There is an old 1800’s stagecoach road bed, local trails and the Colorado Trail and Continental Trail both come through here.  Horses:  free horse corrals, water available.  People:  Seven different cabins to rent with refrigerators and hot water.  No internet or wifi.

Sun Canyon Ranch, Dove Creek, CO, suncanyonranch.com, 970-677-3377

Great riding from the ranch as well as fishing, nearby historic Indian Ruins, Cowboy Supper and Show, and more!  Horses:  Stalls, paddocks, panel pens, pasture and round pen.  People:  Beautiful lodge as well as 12 RV sites with water and electric and 5 tent sites.

Tutor Rose Bed & Breakfast, Salida, CO, thetudorrose.com, 800-379-0889

The Tutor Rose property adjoins BLM land through which you access the Lost Trail, to the new Little Rainbow Trail, to the Rainbow Trail.  Head north or south from here.  Beautiful trail along the east side of the Sangre De Cristo mountains.  Old roads, lakes, mines, and stream crossings over decent footing with some exposed roots and rocks.  Horses:  Various horse accommodations from stalls to paddocks.  People:  Main house with rooms as well as Chalets that sleep up to six.

The Wilderness Cabin, Gunnison County, CO, coloradowildernesscabin.com, 970-527-3010

Trails like Little Robinson Trail #850 and Kaufman Creek Trail #852 are highly rated for beauty and views.  There are some full day rides as well.  Horses:  Metal sectional pens that the owners will reconfigure for you with water near pens.  People:  Large, beautiful three-story lodge with a hot tub plus an additional cabin.

Winding River Resort, Grand Lake, CO, windingriverresort.com, 970-627-3215 or 303-623-1121

Trail ride into Rocky Mountain National Park and there is also forest service land that adjoins one side of the resort that ATV’s can access – bring ATV’s and horses to ride in different areas.  The check in for horses was a bit stringent.  We saw moose every day.  Recommended trails are the River Trail, Green Mountain Trailhead to the Big Meadows Loop, and Onahu Trail all in RMNP.  Pancake breakfast on Sundays.  We went to Grand Lake Lodge that was about 5 minutes away for breakfast one day and a couple dinners in Grand Lake at night.  Horses:  Nice panels pens which can be made larger or smaller with water close by.  We did not see any flies and noticed the wranglers using Fly Predators.  There is a general pen area if you are in a cabin or lodge or pens at your site if you are camping.  People:  Lodge rooms, separate cabins and many campsites available.

Trail Ride – Beaver Brook Watershed

Trail Ride – Alderfer Three Sisters

Dawson’s Butte Open Space Trail

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http://www.douglas.co.us/dcoutdoors/trails/open-space-trails/dawson-butte-open-space-trail/

This trail ride was a beautiful two hour loop around the base of Dawson’s Butte in the Castle Rock – Sedalia area, 1923 Tomah Road, Castle Rock. You can get there from I-25 or Perry Park Road if you prefer a little more horse country scenery. The footing is good and the ups and downs are gradual. There are over 60 jumps along the trail and in a play area that you come by. Great parking lot for horse trailers & picnic tables at the trailhead.

Chatfield State Park

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Instead of going into the park, we went south from C470 on Wadsworth to park at the Audubon Nature Center on the east side of the Wadsworth. It is just past the turn in to Lockheed Martin. Follow the parking lot to the left and to the back. There is a trail head there as well as a restroom and a decent amount of parking. No fee was required from this entrance.

The footing was very good and the setting gorgeous. We went right at the start and looped back around to the parking lot for about a 2 hour ride.  Several water crossings including part of the Platte River.  Rivers, streams and small lakes.  A whole different view of Chatfield!  Not the part of the park you are probably thinking of.  Gorgeous ride!

Intermountain Horse Association

IHA Poker RideThe new year is underway and if you are not a member yet, the Intermountain Horse Association (IHA) is a vital group for local equine folks that you should consider becoming a part of.

With a solid history and strong base of local horse people, the IHA traces its origin to the Rocky Mountain Riders (RMR), which was an active trail riding group of the 1980’s.  At a point in time when no one could be found to fill a vacant presidency, the RMR died out and some of the members joined the Jefferson County Horse Council (JCHC) based in Golden.  Recognizing the need to have a group in our immediate area, those members formed a branch of the JCHC, called the Intermountain Horse Council (IHC).  IHC was successful for many years with a similar format as today’s IHA.  IHA was formed officially in January of 2009 when the group had to become separate from JCHC when they began contributing to charitable causes.

Today’s IHA serves the Evergreen-Conifer corridor and has the 501 (c)(7) classification of a Social and Recreational Club.  The group meets every third Tuesday in the meeting room at Beau Jo’s Restaurant in Evergreen at 6:30pm for social and educational purposes.  The business of the IHA is conducted separately by an open membership steering committee.  In addition to the monthly meetings, the group puts together interactive horse events like the Poker Ride and various horse clinics as well as social events for their human counterparts such as the Summer Picnic and Winter Party.

Examples of meeting topics include speakers on government and legal issues, horsemanship, medical information, and fire preparedness.  The schedule for the first part of 2013 is as follows:

January 15th:  Jennifer Benda- 2013 Tax Increases: Are you one of the (un)lucky ones?

March 19th:  Holly Ulyate – Competitive Trail Riding Experiences

April 16th:  Eryn Wolfwalker – Problem Feet

May 21st:  Bruce McReynolds – Horse Packing

The IHA Poker Ride is an annual fundraiser in September benefitting local charities such as the Special Needs Therapeutic Riding Program of the Evergreen Recreation District as well as other horse organizations like HEAT (Horse Evacuation and Assistance Team) and Harmony Horse Works (local horse rescue).  One of the most important goals of the Poker Ride though is to promote riding in our community.

Of the 45-55 riders that attend the annual Poker Ride, most of them are not a part of IHA, have not been to Alderfer Three Sisters and some even travel for 2-3 hours to participate.  Participants also help to act as horse and rider ambassadors to other park users.  Hikers and bikers enjoy seeing the horses, riders, costumes and rigs that come to the ride.

Poker Ride participants find a self-paced, social and low-key environment with a diverse skill sampling of riders and horses.  Last year, my 9 year old rode his mare and I walked with our yearling filly.

Members of IHA come from a variety of backgrounds including endurance riding, Dressage, trail riding, ranch sorting, Arapahoe Hunt Club members, reining, horse training and breeding, HEAT members, horse rescue facilitator, veterinarians and ropers.  All are welcome to join.  Membership is from January 1 to December 31.  A family membership is $25 or individuals for $20.  The first portion of your entry fee for the Poker Ride this year will pay your membership fee.  As mentioned above, IHA meets at Beau Jo’s in Evergreen at 6:30pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  For more information go to intermountainhorse.com.

Copyright © 2013 Heather McWilliams MtnHomes4Horses.com.

Reynolds Park

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Trail Ride:  Reynolds Park

Near:  Aspen Park, Colorado. Five miles south of 285 on South Foxton Road.

Website:  jeffco.us/openspace/openspace_T56_R18.htm

Address & Map Link:  13581 South Foxton Road, Aspen Park Parking is on south side of Foxton Road.

Notes:  Some uphill climbs and then downhill decents. Horse camping is allowed in a specific area.